Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Appointments

Mayo Clinic accepts appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System sites.

Request an Appointment

Small bowel cancers are difficult to diagnose. For this reason, people suspected of having small bowel cancer often undergo multiple tests and procedures to locate the cancer or rule out a cancer.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests use machines to create pictures of the body in order to look for signs of small bowel cancer. Imaging tests used to diagnose small bowel cancer include:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • X-rays of the upper digestive system and small bowel after drinking a solution containing barium (upper GI series with small bowel follow-through)

Tests to see inside your small intestine

Endoscopic tests involve placing a camera inside your small intestine so that your doctor can examine the inside walls. Endoscopic tests may include:

  • Upper endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy, which is sometimes called a pill camera
  • Single-balloon enteroscopy
  • Double-balloon enteroscopy
  • Spiral enteroscopy

Endoscopic tests, other than the capsule endoscopy, allow doctors to pass special tools into the small intestine to remove tissue samples for testing.

Surgery

Sometimes small bowel cancers are located in places that make them very difficult to see with other tests. In these cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to examine your small intestine and the surrounding area for signs of cancer.

Surgery can involve one large incision in your abdomen (laparotomy) or it can involve several small incisions (laparoscopy).

During laparoscopy, your surgeon passes special surgical tools through the incisions, as well as a video camera. The camera allows the surgeon to guide the tools and see inside your abdomen.

May. 30, 2013

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.